The KLF were Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond who had previously gone under the guise of The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu and also The Time Lords under which moniker they had had their first number one with Doctorin’ the Tardis. They were the agent provocateurs of pop and a really great BBC documentary showed their rise to fame,and ultimately infamy retiring on a high by going to a remote Scottish island and burning $1m of their own money.
The Brit Awards now are a shadow of their former selves being pre-recorded and the element of danger long removed where Jarvis Cocker could invade a Michael Jackson stage performance, Liam Gallagher calling Michael Hutchence a has been before trying to insert the award up his own arse, and Chumbawumba pouring a bucket of water over John Prescott. But it would be fair to say that all of this was preceded and prompted by The KLF’s appearance at the 1992 Brit Awards. At the time the event was a tuxedo type event with the record industry’s big wigs sitting in the Hammersmith Apollo rows of seats only to see Drummond in a tench coat hobble onto stage using a pair of crutches and duet with thrash metal band Extreme Noise Terror doing a version of a KLF song and ending it all with Drummond machine gunning the audience (with blanks) before he and Caulty left the stage leaving a dead sheep on the steps. The look on the audiences faces of what they had just witnessed was the highlight of that years awards which could never hope to top that opening moment.
The KLF’s career was brief but extraordinary and director Bill Butt shot all of their videos which were equally bizarre. They also shot a road movie (literally) as the film consisted of them just driving with no obvious story line. They also recreated a kind of Wicker Man scenario where they invited a select group of journalists to another remote Scottish island unaware of what to expect. And all of this was captured by Bill Butt and his team essentially an unofficial third member of the band and the footage lay dormant and untouched for years but now, with Caulty and Drummond’s permission he has assembled this plus the music videos (which themselves grew increasingly extravagant and insane notably ‘America: What Time Is Love?’ which was the first pop video allowed to be shot on Pinewood’s 007 soundstage) into some semblance of order for the new documentary, ’23 Seconds to Eternity’ which had its premiere at the BFI where Bill Butt spoke about all the madness that went on behind the scenes.
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related feature : The best and most disastrous films featuring a popstar…….
Here’s the KLF music video director Bill Butt talks about their documentary, ’23 Seconds to Eternity’ and there’s a wealth of mad behind the scenes stories……